Sharp Electronics has launched a dedicated commercial audiovisual (AV) division to help it break into the digital signage market.
Peter Unsworth, product manager at the division launched last week, told CRN: “The commercial AV market is so diverse that there is a range of applications and technologies we could concentrate on. But to start with we have decided to concentrate on the digital signage market.”
The new division has identified the hotel, leisure, betting and corporate sectors as key verticals to target.
Among Sharp’s current portfolio of products suited for the new division are its LCD displays, ranging from 20in to 65in in size, and a line of high-performance data and video projectors, which are suitable for business applications.
“We will launch more products in the next 12 months,” Unsworth said.
He added that Sharp does not want to provide just the hardware for digital signage.
“We want to work with content providers, designers, installers and resellers, so that we can offer our customers a complete digital signage solution,” he said.
The commercial AV division’s route to market is 100 per cent indirect. Unsworth said that he hopes to set up a reseller programme in the next six to 12 months.
Andrew Smith, senior associate at AV analyst firm Sandy Brown, said: “This is a positive move for Sharp, which obviously recognises the potential value in the professional AV market. It is seeking to capitalise on this high-growth area.”
Smith added that it would be interesting to see if its approach was volume-sales led or an application-based approach.
“The latter would represent the far better approach in the professional AV market because people need to talk application and integration, not box-shifting numbers,” he said.
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